“California has the toughest gun safety laws in the nation.” —Gavin Newsom Problem is, it has made no difference. Take-aways California’s suicide rate is low due to demographics. California’s gun homicide rate is slightly below average and tied with states with nearly no gun laws. Gun laws and gun homicide rates do not correlate at all, denuding claims about “toughest gun safety laws.” The suicide slide
“Do it for the children,” my California friend used to say in a bad Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation. Her point was that any time a politician mentioned children, they were trying to sneak something past you. She was right. The meme “guns are the leading cause of death for children” is popular but wrong, and it should be uttered in a thick Austrian accent. Define “child” A key problem with the English language is that one word can have many definitions. Add political opportunism, and there can be hundreds. Common dictionaries define “child” as “a person between birth and puberty.” This is why we tend to speak of “children” and “teenagers” and “adults” as distinctly different groups. And anyone who has raised a child from birth to beyond age 14 will attest that their darling little angels turn into disgusting little devils once hormones take command of their brains and bodies.
We normally don’t post a blog entry for a single academic paper, but this one is important because it is the largest well-conducted survey concerning gun ownership and self-defense with guns (as well as other topics) to date. The survey size makes most of the data unassailable, and thus “gold standard.” Take-aways 54,000 people contacted, 16,708 gun owners within that group. Low-side concurrence with other surveys concerning defensive gun use (DGU). New insight into public carry and self-defense, both public and private. Scale data for assault weapons (AR-15s specifically) and magazine capacities more than 10 rounds. Why this paper matters Much of what we know about guns has some limitations:
Who is more likely to shoot you, an NRA member or a member of the Crips? The primary difference between these two groups is culture. NRA members tend to be law-and-order types, whereas Crips (or members of any garden variety American street gang) are rather indifferent or openly hostile to laws. It is the adherence to a social norm – in this case, obeying or not obeying the law – that influences one’s probability to act violently, which in tern means using a gun to commit unilateral violence (e.g., not self-defense). We saw this in one study that details the propensity of people in poor and crime-ridden neighborhoods to get and use guns for criminal activities. But what cultural norms influence such behavior? We found a cross-national survey of culture and wanted to see if we could map similarities between nations concerning culture, violence and guns. The Main Take-Aways Gun …Continue reading →
There must be an election coming. The current California governor is making presidential maneuvers and the New York Times appears to be propping up his (inaccurate) statements about guns. I lived in that politician’s home turf for 22 years, during his political rise, so I have a deeper than average interest – and knowledge – of what the reality is, and in which alternate reality the politician resides. Main Take-aways California’s gun homicide rate is exactly the national average. Their overall suicide rate is rising, but is 29% lower that national averages, which bends the curve on gun suicide rates. For mass public shootings, California has 17% more incidents and 60% more deaths than the national average. The New York Times agitprop In a rather choice bit of partisan hackery, the New York Times (NYT) makes the following assertions about California and guns.
Does not having a father in the home increase the odds of committing a homicide? It appears so, though there are a few factors that complicate things. But leave it to say that fatherless homes might be manufacturing more murders. Major Take-aways Both homicide and firearm homicide rates are well associated with fatherless homes. This matches with nonmarital birth rates by some demographics. A Bit-o-Background Any number of studies have focused on race, urbanization, and poverty as contributing factors to young men murdering. For decades criminologists have noted that the odds of being a murder victim or perpetrator is vastly higher if you are poor, live in a metropolitan area, and are black. Many people openly speculate that part of the puzzle might be the disruption of traditional family structures within the inner cities.
If Washington, D.C. is an indicator, criminal justice reform should start with reforming criminals. A recent dive into gun homicides in the nation’s capital shows that gun violence there remains a street gang problem, as is the case in most metro areas. Take-aways Most gun homicides are committed by “gang age” males. Half of suspects have been in the criminal judicial system since their juvenile ages. All (on average) had prior charges of firearm violence. A likely minimum of 52% of homicides are gang or gang nexus related. Guns in D.C. after decades of banning guns Let’s start by noting that D.C. is the per capita murder capital as well as the nation’s capital.
It is not news that “illegal guns” are the bulk of crime guns and that they are endemic in poor, inner-city neighborhoods. But it is good to have another datapoint. Take-Aways Legal availability of firearms is not correlated with firearm homicides. However, illegal firearm availability is. The number of firearm laws is not associated with firearm homicides either. Firearm homicide rates are amplified by economic and social disadvantages and family disruption. The Study and Proxy Paranoia A 2021 study, attempted to gauge legal and illegal firearm availability and measure those against firearm homicides. The authors also examined social factors including family disruption, economic disadvantage, youth disengagement, and more. The study represents an innovative approach to segregating misuse of legally obtained guns and illegally obtained guns.
“What is the use of having sentencing guidelines if judges don’t follow them?” This is a common refrain from people of a “law and order” mindset, which included most of America in the early 1990s after the country endured a multi-decade, stratospheric climb in violent crime. To summarize this and related positions, the public believed that “locking up violent predators for extended periods works.” A recent report sheds a little more light on the subject and may well certify the notion. موقع بايير Take-aways: Firearm homicides increase when referrals for federal gun crimes decrease. Likewise, reducing the number of people charged with gun crimes is associated with an increase in firearm homicides. Reducing sentencing for gun crimes is associated with an increase in firearm homicides. This might be via a political shift that led to changes in referring, charging and sentencing for gun crimes and the associated higher penalties. Get-Tough …Continue reading →
When it comes to gun violence, it’s tough to beat street gangs. They have made a sport of it. But the spooky question has been, “How much gun violence is gang violence?” Thanks to a little triangulation on our part, we think it is amplissimum. Major Take-aways Gangs likely constitute 85% of firearm homicides in the US. There is a close correlation between metropolitan gang-age homicides and estimates of gang populations by degrees of urbanization. The Data Dearth For all the great scorekeeping the FBI does, when it comes to murder, they have understandable gaps. Every year the FBI reports on the circumstances that led to a homicide, in their Expanded Homicide Tables. There are two rows of data that list what police were absolutely certain were gang related murders.